Nearly $60 million worth of recreational marijuana was sold in Oregon during the first five months of taxed sales, according to estimated figures released Wednesday by the state.
The sales estimate is based on the amount of recreational marijuana tax that retailers paid the state for the period of Jan. 1 through May 30.
The Oregon Department of Revenue received $14.9 million in recreational tax payments as of May 30, the agency announced. Medical marijuana dispensaries began collecting a 25 percent sales tax in January.
Recreational marijuana retails for about $5,000 per pound, according to those involved in the dispensary business in Eugene. Using the state tax numbers, that means nearly 12,000 pounds — about six tons — of recreational pot has been sold from the start of the year to the end of May.
The state is still waiting for quarterly tax returns from almost half of the 319 dispensaries in Oregon that made at least one monthly tax payment, Department of Revenue spokeswoman Joy Krawczyk said. Returns were due on May 2, but the department reported having received just 57 percent of them as of last Friday.
In response, the agency has sent out notices reminding dispensaries to file required tax information.
"There may be some confusion about when returns are due because it's quarterly as opposed to the monthly payment requirement," John Galvin, manager for the Department of Revenue's marijuana tax program, said in a news release. "This is a new program, and some dispensaries are still learning about their tax obligations."
The department is encouraging dispensaries to file as soon as possible.
"We want them to be aware of what they need to do before they end up facing penalties for not filing or paying as they're required," Galvin said.
Dispensaries may be subject to a 20 percent penalty typical for overdue state tax information, Krawczyk said.
Tons of pot
The state began taxing recreational marijuana at the beginning of the year, and Wednesday marked the third time it released tax figures. Both times before, in March and in April, the amount of money brought in bested expectations.
Last month, the Legislative Revenue Office put out updated expectations for the recreational marijuana business in Oregon. Monthly gross tax revenue from recreational marijuana sales should average $3.7 million this year, said Mazen Malik, senior economist for the Legislative Revenue Office.
The tax figures released Wednesday show an average of $2.98 million in taxes for the first five months of the year.
"We think in the coming few months it will be a little higher," Malik said.
Dispensaries around Oregon started selling edible, extract and topical recreational marijuana items on June 2. The bigger market should boost sales and therefore tax revenue collected by the state, Malik said.
<p class="giphy-image__credits-wrapper"> <a class="giphy-image__credits" href="https://giphy.com/gifs/movie-film-sinema-Z6yPkuup0SCUE" target="_blank">Giphy</a> </p> <h2>Growing market<br></h2><p>The expansion of recreational marijuana into more products will draw more customers, as will tourism as Oregon's reputation as a cannabis state grows, said Joseph Hopkins, owner of The Greener Side. The dispensary is located on Oak Street in Eugene.</p><p>"There is definitely more revenue to come," he said.</p><p>Sam Terrall, manager of Serra Eugene, agrees. The dispensary is on West 11th Avenue. Terrall said he knew there was a huge demand for recreational marijuana in the state.</p><p>"It just demonstrates that Oregon ... in general is a very cannabis friendly state," he said.</p><p>source: Dylan Darling |<a href="http://registerguard.com/rg/news/local/34502573-75/oregon-dispensaries-sell-close-to-60-million-in-recreational-pot-over-first-five-months-this-year.html.csp" target="_blank">Register-Guard</a></p><p><br></p>